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Daily Slop - 22 Jan 24: Logan Paulsen talks about Mike Macdonald as a candidate for Washington’s head coaching job

A collection of articles, podcasts & tweets from around the web to keep you in touch with the Commanders, the NFC East and the NFL in general

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Commanders Wire

Commanders interviewed OC Eric Bieniemy for their head coaching opening last week

[A]ccording to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, the Commanders interviewed a familiar face last week.

Anderson reported that Washington brass interviewed offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy last week. The interview was “detailed” and “checked all of the boxes.”

Interviewing Bieniemy is not a surprise. It makes sense for owner Josh Harris and new GM Adam Peters to give Bieniemy a chance to make his pitch. And, per Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report, Harris and Peters both were involved in Bieniemy’s interview.

This doesn’t mean Washington will hire Bieniemy, but it does mean he has a chance. It’s also a good idea for Peters to speak with Bieniemy formally to gain some insight into Washington’s roster.

It’s the first known interview in this cycle for Bieniemy, who has interviewed for multiple head coaching jobs in the past.


DC King of Sports

Latest report suggests Eric Bieniemy is a ‘viable’ candidate for Commanders head coach

The Commanders’ interview changes the perception surrounding Eric Bieniemy. [Josh Alper] of Pro Football Talk described Bieneimy as a “viable” candidate for Washington’s head coach.

Throughout the season, fans and some media of Washington have speculated the desire of Bieniemy to succeed Rivera. Interest remains for some, but Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald have emerged as more intriguing options.

Bieniemty’s coaching style has drawn debate recently, including former Chiefs players like LeSean McCoy. Just before the season, Rivera acknowledged some Commanders’ offensive players struggled with Bieniemy’s style.

His resume is impeccable. His emphasis on accountability has also gotten praise. Nonetheless, Bieniemy’s name appears in the hat of choices for Peters and Harris as they move the Commanders in a new direction.


Burgundy & Gold Report

Jaheim Bell is Just Scratching the Surface | Commanders NFL Draft

Jaheim Bell

6’3” 239 lbs | TE | FSU

Draft Proj 3rd Rd

S.CAR Career Stats (30 games)- 18 rec 242 yds and 1 TD (13.5 avg)

2023 Stats (13 games)- 41 rec 617 yds and 2 TDs (15.0 avg)

In 2022 as a junior Bell’s role diminished as he received less targets, recording 24 receptions for 235 yards and 2 scores (9.8 yards per rec). He was asked to be more of an inline blocker and had some success not allowing a sack and only 1 pressure with limited reps.

At the conclusion of the season Bell made the decision to transfer to Florida State for the ‘23 season.

As a senior in 2023, Bell was active in 13 games. The former Valdosta HS receiver had his best season of his college career registering 39 catches for 503 yards (12.9 yards per rec) and 2 TDs. Bell also had a notable QB rating when targeted of 117.7. As a pass blocker he gave up 3 pressures and 1 sack.

Outlook

Bell is the definition of a flex option tight end and can be moved around pre-snap in various alignments. Although his blocking is subpar, he’s still a work in progress in this area.

Love how Bell attacks the ball and his ability to find weak spots in coverage. He’s still scratching the surface of his ability though. His background lining up in the backfiled, only add to his intrigue as a potential fullback/H-back in sub-packages.

The team that drafts Bell should have a plan to utilize his ability as a pass catcher. The Seminoles tight end is firmly slotted as a 3rd round prospect based on his college production, but an impressive combine and good forty time could dramatically help his stock.


Last Word on Sports

Could a Jacoby Brissett-Indianapolis Colts Reunion Take Place?

Jacoby Brissett could possibly return to the Indianapolis Colts if free agent Gardner Minshew leaves this offseason.

All Depends On Gardner Minshew

Minshew started 13 games for the Colts this season, filling in for injured rookie starter Anthony Richardson. The 2019 sixth-round pick played great, nearly helping the team make its first postseason berth since the 2020 campaign.

Minshew isn’t an elite quarterback by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, he’s arguably the best backup quarterback in the entire NFL.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Colts re-sign Minshew this offseason. He can step up and keep the team competitive if Richardson gets hurt again. He’s also a good mentor for the young and inexperienced Richardson.

However, he’s a free agent and might receive an offer from another team to be a starter. If that happens, he’ll more than likely go elsewhere, leaving the door open for a backup quarterback signing like Brissett.

Jacoby Brissett’s Potential Impact in Indianapolis

Losing Minshew in free agency would mean the Colts would have to find a backup for Richardson. The team currently has Sam Ehlinger, who they drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. Yet, he’s better suited as a third-string quarterback instead of a number two.

Brissett would be a fantastic pickup for the Colts. Like Minshew, he could start if Richardson goes down with another season-ending injury (knock on wood). He could serve as a mentor for Richardson as well.


Podcasts & videos

The Case For and Against Mike MacDonald for Commanders Head Coach


Best D-Coordinator For WSH If Adam Peters Gets Offensive Minded Head Coach! Does More With Less!


NFC East links

Over the Cap

Looking at the Cowboys Options With Dak Prescott

The Basics of the Contract

2024 will be the final year that Prescott is under contract to the Cowboys. His salary for the year is $34 million which is broken down as $5 million earned on March 17th and $29 million earned during the regular season. His cap charge for the year $59.455 million, which is the 2nd highest cap charge in the NFL next year. None of the salary is guaranteed.

Can Prescott be Cut?

If for some crazy reason the Cowboys wanted to cut Prescott they could but it would be costly. He would need to be released before the roster bonus is due and even then the Cowboys would need to account for $61.915 million in salary cap charges. Right now we estimate Dallas to be about $20 million over the salary cap which makes it very difficult to take on that kind of charge for Prescott.

Can Prescott be Traded?

Prescott has a no trade clause in his contract so he would have to agree to a trade. This would also result in a scenario where Dallas had to take on the full $61.915 million in dead money cap charges this year so it doesn’t seem too likely.

In Prescott’s case Dallas added two void years to the contract, one in 2025 and another in 2026. To see how this benefitted Dallas we can look back at the 2023 season. Dallas restructured his contract last year converting $29.3 million of salary into a bonus. If the void years did not exist Dallas would have only saved $14.65 million on the cap. Instead Dallas saved $21.975 million because they were now able to park salary cap charges in those void years.

The danger of this strategy comes from when the player’s contract expires. If the team allows the deal to void all of the cap charges parked on the salary cap count on the salary cap. Prescott’s contract will void on the last day of the 2024 league year (that will be sometime in mid March of 2025). If that happens Dallas will take on $36.46 million in cap charges for Prescott.

Can Prescott be Franchised in 2025?

No. Prescott has a no tag provision in his contract so Dallas is unable to tag him in 2025.

Does Dallas Have to Extend Prescott?

No, they do not. While Dallas probably should extend him the team could determine that 2024 is their “put up or shut up” year with the team considering a reset if they do not improve in 2024. A reset would probably mean a new QB and a new coach in 2025 while dealing with the salary cap fallout of Prescott’s void years in 2025. If Dallas is considering this as an option it would probably make sense for them to draft a QB in the 1st or 2nd round this year so they at least have an option on the team for 2025.

Does Prescott have Leverage over the Cowboys?

Yes. Even though his salary is not guaranteed the nature of his contract and his salary cap situation gives him a lot of leverage over Dallas in a negotiation. The fact of the matter is if Dallas does not touch his contract this year they will have minimal cap space to improve their roster, would have no ability to control Prescott’s rights after the year, would be left with $36 million in salary cap charges, and would only maybe get a 3rd round comp pick in a league where the Broncos paid a ransom for Russell Wilson.

Odds are that Dallas will need to further restructure Prescott’s contract this year for cap relief which will only increase the dead money in 2025 which only makes it more difficult for Dallas to deal with the salary cap fallout.

Should Dallas Extend Prescott?

While the injury risk is probably lower with Prescott you do have to ask yourself what I think was the biggest underlying issue with Romo: if you can not win with Prescott making $40 million a year what makes you think you can win with him at $60 million a year?


Bleeding Green Nation

A closer look at the 2023 Eagles’ historic collapse

NFL sources dish on why Philadelphia’s season went wrong.

The 2023 Eagles were an epic disappointment. Lurie has been deflated. He has been depressed. He may have never been as angry as his face expressed that night.

The inescapable fact is Lurie and Roseman failed. Head coach Nick Sirianni failed. The coaching staff failed. The players certainly failed. The media, in a sense, failed to see that the 2023 Eagles, projected to be Super Bowl contenders, would be seriously marred by coordinator and player defections, especially on the defensive side.

And some fans, who bought in early and suffered late, failed to see it as it gradually unfolded before their eyes—with the continuous, collective refrain “but we still won,” despite portends of trouble.

This is a look back at the debacle that was the 2023 Eagles.


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Articles

Deadspin

A playoff game for the top pick in the NFL Draft sounds good — until you remember that human beings would be participating in it

Nobody is going to do extra work to make themselves easier to replace

The proposal was that the worst two teams in the league play on the Thursday night before Wild Card Weekend, and the winning team receives the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Losing is never a good feeling. A bad streak at a weekly game night can result in conflict both relationships — platonic and otherwise. After running into large men at full speed for 17 weeks, with the result being a mere two-four victories, it would be reasonable to believe that the last thing an NFL player would want to do is play an 18th game.

The No. 1 overall pick might appear to be a significant reward. For the fans and the front office, absolutely, but the players don’t gain anything from winning a fake playoff game. A team that played poorly enough to have one of the best records in the league is going to make many changes during the offseason. Why would a player risk injury and give his all, so his team can replace him more easily in the coming months?


Front Office Sports (subscription)

No Ceiling? NFL Breaks New Ground in Banner Season for Viewership

After posting 7% audience growth during the regular season and the best wild-card playoff viewership in eight years, the NFL made more history with the Saturday primetime divisional playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. Shown on Fox Sports, the contest is projected to be the most-watched Saturday telecast on any U.S. network since the 1994 Winter Olympics, an event just shy of 30 years ago, with an average of 37.5 million viewers.

The game is also projected to land as the most-watched Saturday NFL divisional game on record, the most-watched Saturday telecast in Fox’s 37-year history, and a 31% boost from the comparable game (Philadelphia Eagles-New York Giants) last year.